June Faculty Meeting


What is the goal of feedback in your online classroom?

So far we have addressed the ways in which clear and concise communication can positively affect a student’s engagement and persistence within the virtual classroom. Now we want to focus on instructor feedback and what that means to a student in the virtual environment.

To begin, feedback, by definition, is “information about reactions to a person’s performance of a task, used as a basis for improvement” (Merriam-Webster). Hence, feedback can keep students on the right track by helping the students’ progress and succeed by assisting them in identifying any gaps between current performance and required achievement.

Feedback should focus on learning and the support of student achievement rather than simply measurement. For instance, instead of merely remarking that a student’s APA formatting is incorrect, the act of showing them exactly what they have done wrong (and how to correct it) will go a long way towards providing students with the tools needed to help them avoid making the same mistake again.

Effective feedback is essential as scaffolding enhances learning. Thus, the use of effective feedback by instructors provides the foundations for learner autonomy and a framework for higher achievement.
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In 2006 Nicol and MacFarlane-Dick listed feedback principles that have been widely disseminated across the Higher Education sector. These include:

  1. Clarifying what good performance is
  2. Facilitating reflection and self-assessment in learning
  3. Delivering high-quality feedback information that helps learners self-correct
  4. Encouraging teacher-learner and peer dialogue
  5. Encouraging positive motivational beliefs and self esteem
  6. Providing opportunities to act on feedback

When following these feedback principles, you will see that not only are instructors communicating expectations, but also attempting to provide motivation and opportunities for resubmission.

Remember that giving the opportunity to update and resubmit an assignment based on instructor feedback is reinforcing the learning the student is undertaking. Also, it should be said that a student who receives an “A” on an assignment is also looking to receive feedback for his or her hard work. Simply saying “great work” doesn’t reinforce what they’ve done correctly and should repeat on their next assignment.

Ensuring your students receive good, quality feedback they can use is one of the most powerful ways to truly make a difference to their learning, satisfaction, and engagement.

Please click the link below to open a brief article on effective feedback:

Communication in Online Courses: Strategies for Providing Feedback in Online Courses

While the following article gives techniques on effective feedback, and we’ve addressed what effective feedback looks like, we need to look more closely at how we deliver said feedback.

Please advance to the next page to continue learning about effective feedback.